Through a variety of feedback mechanisms, we recognized that staff members were not feeling communication was being provided regarding any number of relevant issues, e.g., emergency procedures, Buckley Amendment, campus events, handling students in crisis, training initiatives, etc. While the campus had in place formal venues to communicate with faculty and also with staff in management positions, all other staff relied on communication from their supervisors regarding relevant campus happenings.
Lisa Yerges, Director of Business Services, took the lead in developing and coordinating a one-hour all-staff meeting held monthly called the Staff Forum, in collaboration with other Division Heads. These forums bring together staff members and technical service employees and generally consist of the following: 1) warm up exercise/team building activity, 2) departmental updates, 3) a discussion topic that is relevant to all staff such as a refresher on the Buckley Amendment or campus emergency procedures, and 4) and open microphone session to allow staff to express ideas about process improvements, issues of concern, questions about campus activities, etc.
As a result of these forums, staff members have greater opportunities to network with others whom they may not see on a daily basis due to office/building location, feel more connected and “in the loop” about campus happenings, and have an opportunity to communicate/air concerns, get answers, etc.
Success of this initiative has been measured by feedback from current staff. Discussion topics for the staff forums are submitted by staff, so they feel empowered to influence how their time is spent at these forums and to ensure they are getting the information that meets their needs and is relevant. In addition, all exit interviews conducted with staff members who have resigned in the last year have specifically referenced the value of these staff forums as a positive that has transformed the way information is communicated across departments and from the top down.
I’m sorry that I don’t have any truly measurable outcomes to report from this CQI initiative. I believe staff communication has improved as a result of these monthly meetings, and staff feel they have a venue to express concerns, ask questions, learn new things, and have a dialogue with others they might not ordinarily interact with on a daily basis. However, at the present time, we don’t have mechanisms in place to quantify these outcomes.
- Lisa Yerges, Leader
- Helene Bludman, Member
- Paul de Gategno, Member
- Deborah Erie, Member
- James Morgan, Member
- Matthew Shupp, Member
- Robert Wetzel, Member
- Sophia Wisniewska, Member
- Alan Zawacki, Member
- Maria Zuccato, Member